“Becoming Servant,” Ensign, Jan. 1987, inside back cover
At twelve you stand taller,
my son, my brother,
with unnatural posture straight
in a row before the white and simple altar
of sacrament linen, beneath
these high windows where Christ’s
diffusion—through loose-woven curtains—
falls like a secret
onto your combed hair.
This sunlight for halo
and white shirt for purity
is your beginning of service:
clothed in the swordless
armor of David—the mantle of Aaron—
large like the coat of your suit
to grow into.
With round and somber eyes
you glide, bearing the polished tray,
the poured and broken symbols
of renewal you must yet understand.
And you gather the offerings from the fast,
generous secrets from hearts
in need, for those in want.
At fourteen, unseen, each tiny cup in place,
you fill the tray
from the tap with thin cold stream
to brim with blessing,
tip excess and wipe to dry.
The polished silver glistens
in the Sabbath light.
Afterwards you stand
with your long arms folded,
a solemn sentinel before the tall
closed doors of the chapel.
The suit now fits, Aaronic mantle too,
as you guard the silence
of the sacrament sanctuary—such as it is
in our restless mortal procession.
Your deepening and uncertain voice rises
seldom in song, will pray aloud
beside an elder on a couch.
At sixteen your large hands,
washed and clean,
break symbols that consecrate
our acts, our thoughts,
strong hands that reach out
from the nearly outgrown mantle
of outward ordinance
toward the essential higher oath.
Today you kneel, you sanctify
with manly tone and cadence
emblems to a holy purpose.
brother, before this white remembrance
to remind us how
He descended to rise,
to take us with Him if we will.